Let’s call a spade a spade: Research-in-Motion’s latest consumer electronic release, the Blackberry Playbook LTE, is highly unlikely to reverse the current tide of negativity that comes with any news from the Waterloo, Canada-based manufacturer. The original RIM Playbook, released on April 19, 2011, was met with much fanfare and just as much negative press—as its launch was met with all sorts of performance issues and much-maligned disappointment that basic applications, like e-mail, were not standard. From a hardware perspective, the Blackberry Playbook was technologically comparable to their competition at the time, like the Motorola XOOM, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Apple iPad 2.
Despite the technical similarities to their competition, the early issues with the OS and the lack of applications eventually doomed the Playbook. During its first two quarters after release, only 700,000 units were shipped. In comparison, the Apple iPad 2 shipped nearly 19 times as many units as RIM. Following several months of lackluster sales, RIM drastically reduced the price of the original Playbook from $499 to $199 for the 16-GB version which, spurred sales significantly but at a loss for RIM.
Based on these circumstances, many believed that RIM would exit the tablet business and turn its focus on its struggling handset division. Imagine the surprise when RIM announced on its corporate blog that the much-rumored LTE edition of the Playbook would be released on Aug. 9. The original Playbook required a newer Blackberry for baseband data access. The new Playbook LTE not only removes the need for "Blackberry Bridge," it includes the latest baseband technology to make it a standalone product. Opening up the Playbook LTE will reveal what other technology changes RIM has made.
Back of comms board (click on image to expand and enlarge).
Front of comms board (click on image to expand and enlarge).